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Affordable-housing building approved on Dorchester Avenue near Talbot Avenue

The Board of Appeals yesterday approved a developer's plans to replace a small junkyard at 1837-1841 Dorchester Ave. with a four-story building with ten apartments and a small space for a business.

Travis Lee told the board he is working with state and city agencies to secure some financing that would let him market all ten units as affordable, to be rented to people making no more than 80% of the Boston area's median income.

Lee added he is also reducing the cost by keeping the units small - 450 square feet for one studio, 550 square feet for three one-bedroom apartments and 650 square feet for six two-bedroom units. The studio, on the ground floor, would be handicap accessible; the remaining units, reached through stairs, would not.

The building will only have three parking spaces, but Lee noted its location a few minutes walk away from the Ashmont Red Line station and the presence of 15 Zipcars stationed in the nearby area.

Lee needed zoning-board approval because the lot is too small under its current zoning for a residential building and because his building would be too tall and too dense and not have enough parking.

The mayor's office and the office of City Councilor Andrea Campbell (Dorchester) supported the proposal, as did the Ashmont Main Street organization. The St. Marks residents association split evenly and issued neither support nor opposition.

Steven Connelly, who is building an 18-unit building with 27 parking spaces across a private way from Lee's lot, opposed the project. He and his attorney said the building is simply too large for its lot and doesn't provide enough parking and said that given the split at St. Marks, the project didn't really have the sort of community support needed to justify variances from the existing zoning.

Connelly added he opposed Lee's proposal to put access to the three-car parking area on the private way, because that is supposed to be an accessway to his project for Boston firefighters. He said if somebody parks on the private way or Lee forgets to shovel the snow, that could cause problems because firefighters might not be able to get to his building in an emergency.

Under questioning from board Chairwoman Christine Araujo, Connelly's attorney, Kevin Cloutier, acknowledged that his building also required zoning variances, but not for the size of the building or lack of parking.

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What is the address on Dot Ave? Is this the lot that Ashmont Auto Collision owns? Has it been sold to Travis Lee? My understanding is that Connelly tried to buy it and they wouldn't sell.

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According to an earlier Dorchester Reporter article, Lee had a purchase-and-sale agreement for the space next fall.

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It's refreshing to read about a new building with small bedrooms.

But why is the developer making the whole building affordable? Is this meant to offset a nonaffordable building in a more expensive neighborhood?

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He realizes Boston has an affordable-housing shortage and wanted to do his part.

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I am glad to see this part of Dot Ave getting housing back.

There used to be a three decker on this site and then a few more going north to Banton Street.

They (multiple houses) got knocked in the fall of 1975 or spring of 1976 because no one wanted them believe it or not. The times have changed. It was fun as a little kid to watch these things get torn down on the way home from school. A clerk was shot to death in the store across the street the same year (the old Ashmont Creamery) and a year later both buildings across the street on either side of Templeton Street (sorry - Msgr. Patrick J. Lydon Way) were, how should I put it, set alight for insurance money. I guess it was a fairly crappy neighborhood to grow up in in hindsight.

Glad to see that the escalating residential prices in the area are being tempered a bit with this development.

How soon before an auto body shop gets replaced with a blow out bar or an artisanal pickle shop between here and Fields Corner? Good for Dot.

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That empty lot was the bane of my existence when I was president of my local civic association. It was such a mess of parcels on a no-longer existing private way (Northam Park) that no one wanted anything to do with it.

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I heard a few of the local gangsters, no, not the famous one that is a guest in an Federal Pen. in AZ, had a lot to do with urban renewal by lighter fluid back then.

Those people also supposedly had a hand in burning down the toy store, the Kiddie Nook, and the bar to the north of that that used to be just north of the tracks in Fields Corner that Viet-Aid built on about 10 years ago.

Cumberland Farms tried to open a store at least twice where the Manekis Company is on the corner of St. Mark's Road and Dorchester Ave back in the mid-1970's. They somehow mysteriously kept catching on fire. That was rumored to be done by a nearby competitor. The Haseotes family got the message and left the local area.

Good Times!

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Steven Connelly, who is building an 18-unit building with 27 parking spaces across a private way from Lee's lot, opposed the project.

the subtle, delicately cast shade is my favorite part of the journalism on this site

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